Guide to investing in ASEAN [reports]

Invest in ASEAN

ASEAN attracts a lot of attention from businesses and investors thanks to its high level of economic growth and a widening middle class. With the unfolding of the ASEAN Economic Community they will reap more and more benefits as the deepening regional integration eases business practices and creates new opportunities

ASEAN is in a pivotal moment as the long awaited “ASEAN Economic Community” has just been officially established. It promises to launch a new era of economic cooperation between the ten ASEAN member countries and will enable businesses to operate, trade and invest more and more easily across their borders.

Overview of investment and business sectors in ASEAN

In an effort to help businesses and potential investors understand key opportunities of the region, settle and do business in ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has realeased a new report together with several high profile businesses and associations.

This report provides a general overview on doing business in Southeast Asia with detailed perspectives on all the major and most interesting business sectors. Simply entitled “Investing in ASEAN 2015-2016“, it provides insights from experts for each of the verticals covered with emphasis on interesting opportunities, as well as overviews of each ASEAN country.

Investing in ASEAN 2015-2015 – summary

Investing in ASEAN 2015-2016 report
Click on the cover to open the report from the EU ASEAN business council


  • Southeast Asia’s new dawn is full of promise – page 5


  • H.E. Le Luong Minh: Secretary General – page 8
  • US-ASEAN Business Council – page 9
  • EU-ASEAN Business Council – page 10
  • UK-ASEAN Business Council – page 11

Business – Finance – Legal

  • Manufacturing expansion in ASEAN with HSBC – HSBC – page 12
  • ASEAN members forge ahead with financial integration – page 16
  • The Rule of Law and ASEAN growth – DFDL – page 21
  • Investing in ASEAN: Five top considerations – EY – page 28
  • Harnessing unique ASEAN talents for investment growth – TMF Group – page 33
  • Legal regime of ASEAN – Chandler & Thong-ek Law Offices – page 36
  • Interview with David D. Doran: Partner and Chairman, DFDL Legal & Tax – page 41


  • Gas resources boost ASEAN’s energy strategy – page 46
  • Renewable energy helping to lessen reliance on fossil fuels – page 49

For more information, check Energy outlook for Southeast Asia.

Industry & Manufacturing

  • ASEAN’s manufacturers have a window of opportunity – page 53
  • At home in ASEAN – Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) – page 59


  • Infrastructure spending set to grow with more funding – page 62
    A new railway age begins in Southeast Asia – page 66
  • Focus on ports development will strengthen ASEAN’s global reach – page 70


  • ASEAN aims high in aerospace manufacturing – page 75
  • ASEAN aviation support industries are global players – page 78
  • ASEAN airlines are flying high again – page 80

IT & Telecommunications

  • Southeast Asia sees huge expansion in broadband access – page 85


  • The region’s mining sector has bright future – page 90


  • Economic integration will improve food security – page 93


  • Focus on healthcare yields impressive results – page 96


  • Educational development is key to economic progress – page 99


  • Southeast Asia’s tourism potential is immense – page 103

Country Reference

  • Member country profiles – page 109

Useful contacts – page 130

Why and how to invest and do business in ASEAN

Gathering a lot of data, case studies and interviews from multinational corporations involved in ASEAN as well as some comparisons of the local advantages of ASEAN member countries and larger reflexions on ASEAN as a whole, this report from 2013 entitled “Riding the ASEAN elephant – How business is responding to an unusual animal” is a must-read for all people and businesses wishing to invest, expand or develop a business in South-East Asia.

ASEAN business report extract

This report from the Economist Corporate Network presents a lot of insightful findings about the opportunities and challenges of investing and developing a business in ASEAN. It notably answers the following questions:

  • Why ASEAN is particularly interesting now?
  • What strategies to adopt in order to invest and successfully develop a business in ASEAN?
  • What dangers to be wary of?

Riding the ASEAN elephant: How business is responding to an unusual animal – summary

Riding the ASEAN elephant report
Click on the cover to open the report from the Economist Corporate Network

Preface – page 2

Executive summary – page 3

1. Introduction – page 5

Understanding corporate strategy in South-east Asia

2. Why ASEAN? Why now? – page 7

The forces propelling South-east Asia up the corporate agenda

  • Super consumers – page 7
  • Factory firepower – page 8
  • Investment fuels the furnace – page 9
  • Integration nations – page 9

3. ASEAN integration: A work in progress – page 10

ASEAN policies take time, but companies have faith

  • ASEAN’s expanding ambition – page 10
  • Daring but demanding – page 10
  • Slow progress, but moving forward – page 11

4. ASEAN integration becomes meaningful – page 12

Integration policies are feeding into corporate strategy

5. Companies are doing it for themselves – page 14

Bottom-up integration drives top-down policy

  • Global MNCs, but local MNCs too

6. ASEAN strategy: What and where? – page 16

Picking markets and where to run them

  • Running regional hubs – page 18

7. ASEAN strategy: Markets and operations – page 19

Tailoring corporate strategy to the ASEAN landscape

  • Going multi-local – page 19
  • Scale and efficiency – page 19
  • Diversity equals complementarity? – page 21

For more information, check How to define a strategy for business in ASEAN.

8. Conclusion – page 23

Amidst the euphoria, ASEAN has many challenges

  • The dangers of being thrown – page 23

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